DOJ Release Memo Confirming It Thought Donald Trump Shouldn’t Be Charged

( The Justice Department on Wednesday made public a once-secret 2019 memo that advised against accusing former President Donald Trump of obstructing the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The 9-page memo’s release in response to a court request sheds more light on one of the Trump administration’s most critical and divisive issues: whether he should be charged with a federal crime for attempting to obstruct the Mueller investigation.

Two senior Trump-appointed Justice Department officials who worked on the 2019 memo drew on a more than 400-page report in which Mueller outlined the outcomes of his special counsel team’s probe. The Mueller report, split into two volumes and was not yet made public by the Justice Department, looked at Russian influence in the 2016 election in volume one and whether Trump tried to impede the investigation in volume two improperly.

Top Justice Department officials Steven Engel and Edward O’Callaghan referred to that second volume in their memo when they stated that there was “insufficient evidence, in our judgment, to support a conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that the President violated the obstruction-of-justice statutes.” Engel wrote the letter while he served as the director of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, a division entrusted with analyzing some of the most complex legal issues the executive branch has to deal with.

The OLC memo continued by stating that, in its opinion, no actions taken by Trump that “constituted obstructive conduct, done with a link to a pending process, with the corrupt intent sufficient to support prosecution” for obstruction of justice were identified in the special counsel’s report.

The letter stated that “there is no precedence for an obstruction case on similar circumstances” in order to persuade then-Attorney General William Barr not to charge Trump with obstruction.
In Mueller’s report, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone connected with the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

The document also noted that Mueller’s conclusions in the obstruction investigation were both “novel” and “unusual.”

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has ruled that Attorney General Barr never seriously considered accusing President Donald Trump of obstructing justice. The decision not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice was made by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in a letter to Mueller’s successor, Eric Schneiderman.